Objectives: The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether a complex course obstacle negotiation exercise (CC), a 24-week exercise program, can reduce falls and fractures in older adults, as compared with a simple course obstacle negotiation exercise (SC).
Methods: This trial was carried out on older adults, aged 75 years and above in Japan. In total, 157 participants were randomized into the CC group (n = 78) and the SC group (n = 79). Participants were enrolled in the exercise class using the CC program or the SC program for 24 weeks. The outcome measure was the number of falls and fracture rates in CC and SC groups for 12 months after the completion of the 24-week exercise class.
Results: Two participants (2.8%) in the CC group and 19 (26.0%) in the SC group experienced falls during 12 months. During the 12-month follow-up period after the intervention, the incidence rate ratio (IRR) of falls in the SC group against the CC group was 9.37 (95% CI = 2.26–38.77). One participant (1.4%) in the CC group and eight (10.9%) in the SC group had experienced fractures during 12 months after the exercise class. The IRR of fractures in the SC group compared with the CC group was 7.89 (95% CI = 1.01–61.49).
Conclusions: The results of the present trial show that the participants who received individualized obstacle avoidance training under complex tasks combined with a traditional intervention had a lower incidence rate of falls and fractures during the 12 months after the intervention. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2012; 12: 461–467.